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The Training Page of Volunteer Today has practical trainer techniques and activities to make orientation sessions more productive and valuable. There are also ideas to help enhance the professional volunteer manager's training level.

~ April 2006 ~ Topics

Lecture Bingo
Managing Volunteers: Training Institute
Go To Your Corners

Lecture Bingo

Everyone says it! Lectures are awful and after 10 minutes most of us are ready for a nap! So, you have lots to tell people and a short period of time. Here is a system to make that lecture fun, increase retention, and keep people awake.

Lecture Bingo requires the following:

  • You need nine key points to make the bingo game work (you can have fewer than nine, then leave blank spaces on your bingo cards)
  • Develop a bingo card on paper with a 3 X 3 grid. That means nine boxes. You can do as a handout or on cards.
  • Place one of the nine points in one of the grid boxes. So each grid box as a different key point from your lecture.
  • Make sure the points are in different boxes on different grids. Not everyone should have the same boxes—no fun in that!
  • Everyone gets a bingo card and strip of 9 sticky dots.
  • Instructions to students:
    • As the lecture proceeds from point to point participants are to cover the points made with the sticky dots.
    • Empty boxes cannot be covered with dots
    • When someone collects all nine points they are to yell "Bingo." This should be at the end of the speech and not interfere with the flow of the presentation.
    • Have token gifts—pencils, post-its, and candy for the winners.

Want more ideas for training? Check out our online bookstore for Sharing Moments of Recognition Every Day by Linda L. Graff. Details for Slide Shows Book

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Managing Volunteers: Training Institute

The Washington State University Volunteer Program Management Training Institute will be held November 7-10, 2006 in Kennewick, WA. This four day Institute is aimed at individuals who want to hone their skills in managing volunteers. It is primarily for those beginning work in volunteer management, or with a desire to refresh and re-energize their skills. Some work will be at the advanced level for participants with extensive experience.

The Institute presents information and interactive learning activities on:

  • the various aspects of recruiting (planning, screening, position development, advertising, and volunteer recruiting teams;
  • organizing a planned training program for volunteers;
  • practicing management and supervision skills most effective with volunteers,
  • strategies to evaluate volunteers and programs, and methods of recognition.

There will be special attention to such things as the changing nature of how people wish to volunteers.

Faculty members are experienced managers of volunteers, with University credentials. You can read more about the faculty at the website listed below.

For more information on the Volunteer Management Institute contact Susan Butts at Washington State University.

This certificated program is also available through online instruction. For more information on that visit the Web site: http://www.capps.wsu.edu/vmcp/.

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Go To Your Corners

The tone of training can be set early with a brief introductory session to help people focus on the area of most interest. Most volunteer training has more than one topic. Post signs or easel paper sheets around the room. The signs should reflect the topics in training: services, confidentiality, safety, duties, etc.

Ask the participants to go to the sign that represents the area of his/her highest interest. While at the easel paper sign, have them carry out introductions and discuss with others in the small group why this is an area of high interest. Tell them someone will have to summarize the group's discussion.

People can then tell why one area was of interest more than another. This makes for easy introductions that are not time consuming, helps the trainer know the area of highest and lowest interest, and starts people off in an informal manner, but focused on the topics for the training.


Close to 200 colleges and universities offer academic programs on nonprofit and volunteer sector management. They are usually master's degree programs, but not always. American Humanics sponsors undergraduate programs, as well. If you are looking to push out the professional development window, consider taking a course at one of these colleges. A full list resides at http://tltc.shu.edu/npo/. Thank Roseanne Mirabella, of Seton Hall University for keeping up with this list.

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